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Bacolod City, PhilippinesFriday, June 15, 2012
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with Rolly Espina
OPINIONS

The Oriental Negros Pulahans

Rolly Espina

The Pulahans of Siaton in Negros Oriental may have achieved a historic action when they trooped as a group to the Office of Mayor Albert Atom Monday and pledged to locate and help arrest their wanted leaders.

This is an unprecedented action by members of a religious cult. In the past, the Pulahan I used to know were a dreaded and reputedly bloodthirsty group in Southern Negros Occidental.

After a while, the military crackdown on them and the Greenans drove them underground. And they have not been heard from for some time. Decades actually.

But it seems that the cult has remained active and has resulted to becoming a major group in Oriental Negros, most of them Cebuano-speaking.

Siaton police chief Cresente Gurrea was quoted as saying the 21 who trooped to the office of Mayor did not surrender as earlier reported by Oriental media but only went their mayor to pledge their support for law and order.

In short, they vowed to help the government run after their wanted leader – Marcus Paculado, alias Macoy’ – who is reportedly armed with high-caliber weapons.

They also promised to look for the dreaded leader, Jimmy Enocerta, who managed to elude arrest by the police after he had reportedly killed a Martin Tangaro whom he suspected of providing authorities information on his whereabouts, the reports also said.

That the Pulahans have finally decided to give up their membership in the cult is certainly a tribute to the local authorities of Siaton.

I hope they now remain what they are – believers of a religious cult and not succumb to the lure of banditry and insecurity.

***

I also congratulate Ramon Hofilena who is celebrating the 50th year of his Heritage House service to the public, especially Silaynons.

The low-key Ramon, however, remains mostly in the background. Thus only a few are aware that it was the first house in Silay declared as a national treasure by the Nation Historical Commission of the Philippines. Later, the National Cultural Commission on Art Culture (NCAA) declared it a museum and the first house in Silay still inhabited.

“Mon”, as I call him, had stayed for a long time in New York and he remains one of the post culture and historically conscious Silaynons.

He is one of the nine children of Manuel Severino Hofilena and the late Gilda Ledesma Hojilla.

A movie on the house will be shown at Silay City’s Senator Jose Locsin Cultural and Civic Center today starting at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Hofilena residence has authentic period pieces and Hofilena heirlooms. It also houses the Hofilena art collection. This consists of 1,000 pieces by renowned artists 19th century to the present.

The residence, itself, has been declared a national treasure.

I hope Mon does not begrudge me for calling him a Negrense hero for what he has done for Silay and the Province of Negros Occidental. But he really deserves the title and that of national treasure.

***

I wish to congratulate the mayor of Manapla and the Manapla police chief.

The trio of gunmen had reportedly killed two civilian last early this week when they held up the payroll money of the Hacienda Bariw in Manapla. The payroll distributor was Teresa Basa, at whom they suddenly poked their gun after they had killed her husband, Edd.

Later, Julie Biating, who tried to help the couple, was also shot and hit on the leg. He died later at the Teresa Jalandoni Provincial Hospital due to blood loss.

Police arrested Lloyd Besonia, 24, and Jim boy Trabadajador, 19. Their third companion remains at large.

Reports said that based on the statement of hacienda workers, the trio had earlier mingled with them, passing themselves off as migrant workers. Also waiting for their pay.

Basa, who tried to prevent the holdup, was shot on the head and chest. Biating, later, tried to help both but was also shot in the left leg.

Trabajador was pointed to by Teresa as the one who had grabbed the bag containing the P125,000 payroll money. Besonia was reportedly the one who shot Eddie.

Kudos to Chief Gregrorio for speedily solving the robbery-holdup case. That means that the Manapla local government officials must have a truly working relationship with the local police who responded with efficient action on the case.*


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